Skip to main content

Yawning


I'd like to congratulate the Wall Street Journal for running a recent opinion/analysis piece on the mysteries of yawning.

In particular, the big one: "why is yawning contagious." People say, "the power of suggestion" but that sounds like a merely verbal answer, a bit like the claim that sleeping pills work because of their dormitive efficacy.

A better approach, says the WSJ, is to think about survival effects. Yawning may have evolved as a way in which an organism maintains its alertness. It doesn't merely mean you're tired, it means that you are tired and recognize that you should be awake (in some non-moralistic sense of the word "should" of course.)

This in turn suggests that the urge to yawn could well be triggered by the yawn of someone nearby. After all, alertness is a trait that small groups in close proximity often need to maintain together. They have common predators, or common prey, about.

Comments

  1. Payday loans no credit check advantage of having a loan such costs is that it does not have a surface tension that cash is insufficient.

    Credit score of all, it has been accepted by specifying the perfect financing options - the site of application specific below

    However, if you have a bad credit history, you will not be able to have the kind of help. The owner of the bad credit history, it is assumed as a dangerous candidate for the new loan.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Payday loans no credit check

    For more info :-
    http://www.paydayloanswaywithnocreditcheck.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  3. This sort of "comment" makes me yawn.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

England as a Raft?

In a lecture delivered in 1880, William James asked rhetorically, "Would England ... be the drifting raft she is now in European affairs if a Frederic the Great had inherited her throne instead of a Victoria, and if Messrs Bentham, Mill, Cobden, and Bright had all been born in Prussia?"

Beneath that, in a collection of such lectures later published under James' direction, was placed the footnote, "The reader will remember when this was written."

The suggestion of the bit about Bentham, Mill, etc. is that the utilitarians as a school helped render England ineffective as a European power, a drifting raft.

The footnote was added in 1897. So either James is suggesting that the baleful influence of Bentham, Mill etc wore off in the meantime or that he had over-estimated it.

Let's unpack this a bit.  What was happening in the period before 1880 that made England seem a drifting raft in European affairs, to a friendly though foreign observer (to the older brother…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Francesco Orsi

I thought briefly that I had found a contemporary philosopher whose views on ethics and meta-ethics checked all four key boxes. An ally all down the line.

The four, as regular readers of this blog may remember, are: cognitivism, intuitionism, consequentialism, pluralism. These represent the views that, respectively: some ethical judgments constitute knowledge; one important source for this knowledge consists of quasi-sensory non-inferential primary recognitions ("intuitions"); the right is logically dependent upon the good; and there exists an irreducible plurality of good.

Francesco Orsi seemed to believe all of these propositions. Here's his website and a link to one relevant paper:

https://sites.google.com/site/francescoorsi1/

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/3

What was better: Orsi is a young man. Born in 1980. A damned child! Has no memories of the age of disco!

So I emailed him asking if I was right that he believed all of those things. His answer: three out of …